The Footballer’s Guide to the Holidays: 2015 Edition

By November 21, 2015Product News and Reviews


The Footballer’s Guide to the Holidays is back for 2015, exclusively on ISNSoccer.com. We are reviewing and recommending the latest and best gifts for the football fan in your life.

Please check back often as we continue to add to our offerings as the holidays quickly advance.  This feature should help you make some football fans very happy this holiday season.  

Cover Art Courtesy of IPG

Cover Art Courtesy of IPG

1.  European Cup & Champions League: The Illustrated History – “A Gorgeous Book Any Fan Would Love”

Few sporting events can rival the passion and fervor of the World Cup and the English Premier League, but the UEFA Champions League certainly can give both a run for their money.  It brings the biggest and best clubs and players into a continental competition that is watched by millions.  It wasn’t always glitz and glamour, the Champions League (and the European Cup before it) came from very humble beginnings.  It began all the way back in the 1920s and boy has it come a long way.

Keir Radnedge does the subject justice and absolutely hits a home run with his latest offering.  It is a gorgeous book in every regard.  Great storytelling, incredible photographs, and tons of historical information make this one of the best titles of 2015.  You’ll find contributions from some of the world’s greatest footballers from across the decades.  Charlton, Eusebio, Beckenbauer, Zidane, and Messi are just a few of the exclusive interviews that are part of this great text.

2.  Football Manager 2016 – “Quite Possibly the Best Game Ever”

You won’t find bigger and more passionate fans than the ones that play Football Manager.  They love and live the game, making it a part of their everyday lives.  Yes, it has caused divorces and maybe some firings and bad grades, but it has given great joy and excitement to so many others.  It is a game that is truly endless, something that will really keep you busy until the next edition comes out.  The average player will get hundreds or thousands of hours of enjoyment out of the game; it’s cheap fun to say the least.

Provided by M&C Saatchi/Sports Interactive

This year’s edition, Football Manager 2016, is quite possibly the best football game ever produced and that is no exaggeration.

It is an immersive experience, one that gets better every year and provides the user with pure football bliss.  Yes, FIFA and Pro Evo are great, but this is for football fans of a whole other level.

We loved the Create-A-Club and Fantasy Draft modes as well as a host of improvements from 2015.  They took a great game in FM 2015 and made it even better.  You’ll see clear improvements in the areas of highlights, press interaction, and set pieces.  Menus are easier to work with and the whole experience is a lot cleaner overall.  And it may be hard to believe, but there are even more statistics to look at this time around.  That’s saying something.

Football Manager Touch 2016 (for high-end tablets like iPad Air and iPad Pro) occupies the space between Football Manager Mobile 2016 (for iOS and Android devices like the iPhone and iPod touch) and the full management simulation that is Football Manager 2016 for PC and Mac.

FM Touch 2016 is a great value at less than 20 bucks, especially considering you get 51 footballing nations.  FM Mobile 2016 is a steal at less than nine dollars thanks to a list of features that includes 14 playable nations and a 2-D match engine.

You can’t and won’t go wrong with any of the offerings surrounding Football Manger 2016.

How good is Football Manager? Everyone’s talking about it and it has literally become larger than life.  The Colorado Rapids admitted that they use the game as a scouting tool.  Ireland’s Cabinteely FC put up a real season ticket for the first fan that could win the Premier Division with the team in the game.  Vice Sports simply called it the world’s most influential video game and we can certainly agree with that.   Real people have gotten real jobs based on the game, just ask Vugar Guloglan oglu Huseynzade, who landed a managerial position in Azerbaijan. Or talk with Robert Smith and John Boileau, two people that applied for real managerial positions based on their success in the game.

Yes, we are still talking about real life.

It’s easy to say that Football Manager 2016 is a great game, but it is more than that.  It is a cultural phenomenon that has taken the football world by storm, making an impact in the sport itself.  It has been a favorite of football fans in Europe for many years and it is gaining serious traction in North America each year.  I think it is safe to say that Football Manager 2016 will make a lot more fans here in the States, adding to the millions that have enjoyed the game since 1992.

Artwork, Screenshots, and Cover Art

3.  The Boy in Brazil – “A Beautiful Journey in the Beautiful Game”

Seth Burkett is a great storyteller and it really comes through in his new book.  His story is a truly unique one, something you won’t find anywhere else.

Burkett, an English footballer by trade, found himself in a special situation.  He was headed to Brazil to fulfill his dream of becoming a professional player. Most often it happens the other way around; the Brazil to Europe pipeline is one of the world’s best for acquiring talent.

On top of that he was a young man that was going on quite a journey, one that took him across the world to the city of Sorriso in Brazil.   Going from one football crazy nation to another was just one piece of the puzzle.  Football crazy may not be a strong enough description for life in Brazil; football worship may be just right.

Life wasn’t easy in Brazil as Burkett had to make some serious adjustments.  Things were different on and off the pitch.

The end result of all this is an incredible text that is one part adventure story, one part Travel Channel, and one part sociology and culture.  It’s a book that is more than just football; it’s bigger than that.  It’s a coming of age story.  It’s about following and achieving your dreams.  And it gives real meaning to the phrase “the beautiful game.”

We enjoyed every aspect of the book and we have to say we can’t think of any others quite like it.  We have done hundreds of reviews over the years and this one still stands out.  The roller coaster nature of the story is quite incredible as you see Burkett go through the highs and lows of his journey.  It is a story that you won’t want to put down.  It’s also a story that makes you feel personally connected to the author and his experience.

Our favorite part of the story was the discovery Burkett made in Chapter 24, that a family member had a connection to Arsenal and more importantly, the highest levels of Brazilian football.   It was a great end to a great book.

The Boy in Brazil: Living, Loving and Learning in the Land of Football is the perfect gift for any football fan, certainly a smart choice for the holidays.  It brings a lot of things together: friendship, love, and sport.  And that is a beautiful thing.

4.  Subside Sports – “The Only Choice for Football Merchandise”

We have been working with Subside Sports for a number of years and they have been a tremendous partner.  We give them our highest recommendation and would never, ever order from anywhere else.  They have an excellent staff, tremendous customer service, 100% authentic merchandise from around the world, and incredible prices.  They have been the world leader in football merchandise since 1997 and they have over 300,000 happy customers.

In addition, you’ll find professional shirt personalization, player printing options, and service in a number of countries, including the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.   The Subside Sports website is easy to use and navigate through.  You’ll always find the latest merchandise to go with tons of bargains.  Put it this way, you’ll be able to find your favorite gear all in one place at a reason place, so much more than might be available at your local Dick’s or Sports Authority.

Here are three of our favorites:

Napoli Home Europa League Shorts 2014/2015

Napoli Home Europa League Authentic Shirt 2014/2015

Real Madrid Home Shirt 2014/2015 including World Club Champions Patch

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